When I was diagnosed with cancer in July of 2006, my parents suggested that I write to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. I thought it was a beautiful idea: allowing children to have whatever they want, regardless of the cost or the extravagance of my request. I’m sure my parents thought that would cheer me up, they have tried so hard. Sadly, I was no longer the child that would be blinded by the petty, worldly things that make so many people happy. After all, if you are counting backwards from my death, I am a quite old man! No, but all jokes aside, I decided that I would give it a shot.
Some really interesting ideas came to mind, but they were pretty crazy. My first thought was football. I love football; playing it, watching it, and especially talking about it with my Dad. I thought he would appreciate it too. My favorite team is the New England Patriots, and they have been especially successful lately so my dream, or “wish” to put it in your terms, was to coach the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Then I came back to reality a little bit and thought it would be just as much fun for me, and added to the possibility of their (our) victory, if I just got to call one play and get to go to the Super Bowl. Coach Belichick could even pick it. After all, many full-grown adults die without getting to see the Super Bowl in person. My next thought went to video games.
I have desired an X Box 360 since it came out, but it was and is far too expensive. I like to play it with my friends at their houses, and it is one of the few times when I forget that I am dying. My favorite games are Madden Football, of course, and Tony Hawk skater games.
The last thing that I can think of would be a day at Busch Gardens Amusement Park. I went there once when I was 10 and it was possibly the happiest day of my life, as short as it will inevitably be. I would like to be able to go to the front of any line and be able to stay after normal closing time and everyone else has left.
Then it finally dawned on me. The last thing that I thought of was a way to pay for chemotherapy. The doctors tell my family and me that I would have a good chance of survival if I underwent “treatment” as they called it. We were all excited; my Mom, my Dad, even my little sister, though she was probably only happy because everyone else was. She is only 5 and does not understand what cancer is, let alone chemotherapy. We cannot afford the treatment any more than an X Box and our excitement was quickly torn to shreds. You see, my mother does not work and my father is a free lance computer programmer. I hear him crying at night. I hear him muttering in his sleep about how he wishes he would have taken the job at the local grocery store instead of spending money we didn’t have to go to school to learn a job that did not offer him health insurance.
If the fine people at Make-a-Wish Foundation would be so kind as to grant me one of these favors, I would be eternally grateful. After all, eternity is closer for me than most people! They say that comedy is a coping mechanism.
This proposal came across my desk and it never gets easier to do this job. We have made the necessary arrangements and have decided that we can grant your wish. It is our mission to make children happy, if only for a brief period of time, before they die. We have contacted the nice people at Busch Gardens . The Foundation will be contacting your legal guardian with details shortly. Thank you for choosing Make-a-Wish Foundation. We are aware that you have several options for a last hurrah and we appreciate your business.
Reginald P. Farnsworth, IV
PS- If you want health care, talk to Emperor, I’m sorry, President Bush. He vetoed S CHIP and we are not miracle workers.
I wrote this on a spur of the moment, though this is a topic that I think about often. The corporatization of the world has made it seem much less genuine then it used to be. It makes me sick that people will donate money to an organization that attempts to “cheer up” a dying child. Ironically, their tactics backfire on them when said children realize that this type of materialism is not good for anyone. In our billboard-ad society where everyone is trying to sell us happiness, it makes me melancholy to realize that these same “good people” elected an ignorant hick to be President of the greatest country on the face of the planet. These same people that donate to charities to soothe their petty, egotistic souls that cry out to the right thing cannot pay a little of their precious money to give children healthcare. That’s right, CHILDREN. The can no more choose to be from a family that can afford healthcare than they can decide whether or not to have cancer.